Devil's Backbone | Real Ale Brewing Company

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Devil's BackboneDevil's Backbone

Brewed by:
Real Ale Brewing Company
Texas, United States | website

Style: Tripel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Pegasus on 05-18-2005

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Reviews: 163 | Ratings: 751
Photo of bryanlindsey12345
5/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best tripel I've ever had. Malty, smooth, boozy, and makes you want to go back for more. I can't see how anyone would give this one less than a score of 4.

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Photo of OgreSanchez
5/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got from Total Wine in Dallas. I was pleasantly surprised with this beer; it's by far the best I've had from Real Ale. A sweet start is topped off my a nice spicy, semi-smokey finish that perfectly masks the ~8% ABV. It is classified as a abbey style tripel, however it's not really like any style beer I've ever had before.

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Photo of Kennymack
5/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This has to be my favorite beer ever. It starts out tart and finishes creamy smooth. The coriander flavor comes through nicely. This is a perfect all year drink.

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Photo of hwhead3
4.97/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Spotted bottles at HEB, Burleson, TX. Poured into tulip.

A: Excellent golden; didn't produce much head.
S: Wonderful fragrant tripel spice.
T: Spicy, fruity, full -- not boozy.
M: Slightly heavy, not quite syrupy.

Love it. Neck and neck with LFDM. Big ups to Blanco!

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Photo of shortedaman
4.88/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I prefer this beer from the bottle. I have had 50+ of these. The key to this one is freshness. I too have grown a fondness for real ale brewing. Since im in houston i get it pretty fresh.

I love this beer. I love the alcohol content, i love how its super easy to drink, i love the taste. Its fruity and fairly thick, medium carbonation, nice belgian yeast flavor.

drinking this one from the bottle seems to add to the style. Pouring it into a tulip is all well and good, however theres just something special about drinking straight from the bottle. It tones down the fruitiness and alcohol taste. This beer needs to be reviewed by the bros for sure.

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
4.75/5  rDev +25%

This one pours a very nice light golden color with minimum cloudiness. There is a nice thick long lived head that settles very slowly and leaves good lacing that eventually retreats down the sides of the glass as well.

The nose is aromatic, bready and sweet with notes of nutmeg, coriander and alcohol.

The flavor is a nice spicy tripel with alcohol and bread notes to match the nose along with some citrus, pepper, vanilla and a tinge of hops.

Overall this is an excellent example of the style with a nice Texas tinge. I highly recommend it.

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Photo of jcance
4.75/5  rDev +25%

Generally I tend to prefer a strong, hoppy IPA, but this has been one of my favorit beers since I discovered it a year or so ago at the grocery store. Most often when I drink beer I am looking for a thick, strong, and bitter hops taste. I prefer my beers be skunky rather than tasteless. This beer however is the primary exception. While it is mild on hops and goes down light, it will inebriate the bejesus out of you and tastes like nothing else I've had thus far in my quests.

When I first tried this brew, I had not been avidly sampling different varieties of beer for very long. I found it to be easy to drink, wildly stong, and almost nondescript in flavor. However, my tastes have certainly changed a significant amount since I first tried this, and my decision to make an account on this website was actually inspired by the profound flavor I noticed upon trying this for the first time in a few months.

This beer has a really sophisticated flavor. It is mildly bitter with a moderate-low amount of carbonation. The really intriguing aspects of the flavor, though, lie mainly in aftertaste. The only way I can describe the taste is as "smoky." But not "cigarette smoky," more like, "this beer spent some time over an open mesquite fire smoky." I truly doubt that that is part of the brewing process but it's the only way I can describe it. This beer goes down very smooth, has a full, rich, almost chocolatey smoked flavor that, for me, provides a nice and drastically different break from the IPA flavors I'm most used to. I have not tried all of Real Ale's brews - the only ones I am familiar with are this, Fireman's Four, and Fireman's Four Squared - but I assume they are all of quality. This, however, I believe is a really special drink. Fireman's Four and Squared are mild, yet strong enough and rich in flavor. But I have really never tasted anything like Devil's Backbone.

In short, this beer is exactly what you would expect from a beer made in Texas named "Devil's Backbone". In a friend's words, "it's gotta be fucked up if it's got a name like Devil's Backbone."

These words are true; this beer has a high ass ABV, with deceptively smooth flavor that can lead to severe drunkenness (comparable ABV beers such as Dogfish Head 90 Minute or New Belgium Rampant tend to remind me exactly how potent they are with their flavor intensity and thickness, while this brew goes down easy like a light beer but hits just as hard), and unique, smoky, crisp overtones that have serious nostalgic value for a guy who was raised in and has lived in Texas his whole life. Sipping this I am reminded of outdoor fire pits and the sensation of warmth in the winter. I seriously recommend this beer for anyone who has the opportunity to try it. It might be a little more expensive than some of the other Real Ale brews or a larger pack of lower quality beer, but trust me, it's worth it. If I could get paid to tattoo this beer's label across my back I would. Enjoyd

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Photo of DJDGB
4.66/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Warning this beer will kick your ass. The percentage may not be too high but the mix of flavor and aroma definitely had an effect overall. I had 4 of these on tap and had to stop myself because it was so good. Kind of pricey in downtown Dallas Pubs but worth it. Overall this is a solid beverage and it will get you were you want to go if the floor is were you are headed.

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Photo of marc956
4.57/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best domestic tripel I have ever drunk. Not quite as good as La Fin Du Monde, but given the price difference I may have to switch! A ton of flavor, hops aren't overwhelming but you can definately taste 'em. Not a beer to mess around with due to its alcoholic content (8.1%) but I am glad to be trying it. Real Ale is making Texas residents like myself proud.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.57/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Something about this latest batch of the Devil’s Backbone that I just found absolutely fantastic.

This pours a clear straw yellow in the glass. It has a light floral, almost pollen-like delicate aroma to it. Smells great!

Tastes light and delicate, with a lot of nuanced estery flavor I pictured lavender fields with a touch of honey at the end. Delicious.

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Photo of mblk6062
4.54/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a staple in my beer fridge. I am lucky to live in Dripping Springs, Texas which is only a few miles from the brewery, located in Blanco. Real Ale makes fantastic brews (Fireman's 4 is another staple), and even though they are a very high quality house, we can get alot of their great stuff in just about any convenience store/gas station in the Hill Country. As a huge aficianado of Belgian Ales (especially Trippels - best in the world, IMHO), I had tried many so called craft "Belgian Trippels" before with usually great disappointment, but I was blown away by this one when Real Ale introduced it in 2010 - they got it right, and they have kept on doing that!

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.52/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy medium golden color with some fast vanishing, small-bubbled white foam.

Nose is pretty classical tripel. Grainy, sugary sweet maltiness with a healthy dose of alcohol. Hints of peanut butter and Caramello candy bar. Light fruits suggesting perhaps some green grapes and unripe apples.

Silky smooth and creamy sweet malts! Lightly caramel with loads of alcohol and a nice crisp bittering finish. The mouthfeel on this beer is exceptional. With maybe 6-12 months, the flavors would meld together perfectly. It is really good now, but the individual components are a bit dramatic. Very good tripel, put this in a bottle please!

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Photo of beergambit
4.52/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a mouthful of of just a different combos of spices and sort of a hint of banana cream. At first sip it is great then after a 3rd or even 5th sip you sense the alcohol taste and somewhat of a sting to your cheeks and gums. Its a drink you know the alcohol is there, but still is a great drink to chill with the friends not something I can handle all night and just chug.

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Photo of Fnord
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Effervescent pale gold with a fairly large white head.

Smell - Saaz hops, hay, caramel, yeast, alcohol, lemon, and pepper.

Taste - A slightly sweet start, which gives way to a clean and spicy finish. The bitterness is not huge, but it is sharp. The aftertaste is yeasty.

Mouthfeel - Medium-thin body and high carbonation.

Notes - In my opinion, this is the best Texas beer out of a commercial brewery. We once did a tasting between this and Fin du Monde, and it was pretty much neck and neck. If you like tripels and you get the chance to try this one, go for it. You won't regret it.

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Photo of beerdiablo
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A flagship brewer of Ales in Texas whose quality continues to rise.

I am not a big Belgian fan, as my taste buds don't often allow me
to appreciate subtleties but from time to time, there is a ray of light
through the clouds and this beer is it.

The Devil's Backbone pours a heralding gold with a nice head with a slight
astringent bite with some spice to it. The aroma is complex, with sweet competing with astringent.

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Photo of Morris729
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright golden color with a bit of an orange sunrise hue and a creamy white head. Nose is floral honeysuckle along with some Belgian spice and a hint of perfume. Taste begins with fruity orange citrus (and maybe a bit of pineapple?) and honey malt followed by some biscuity notes and a bit of clove. A thoroughly enjoyable beer.

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Photo of SneerBob
4.44/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

As a Belgian goes it's the best. I am almost positive it's been crowned America's best Belgian a few times.

I almost always go for either IPA or stout but if this is an option it always makes its way onto my tab.

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Photo of visualweasel
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A cloudy golden yellow with a weak white head, leaving behind minimal lacing. Had to agitate the pour to get a nice collar, which then dissipated rapidly.

S: Fairly typical Belgian tripel aromas: bubblegum, candy sugar, bananas. Quite nice.

T: Follows the nose, with the bubblegum prevailing (in a good way). Very nice indeed for the style, especially from a Texas brewer.

M: Medium-bodied with weak carbonation. Would have liked to see a bit more, but not at all bad.

O: A very nice example of the style. I thoroughly enjoyed this and found it a notch or two better than the Dick's Belgian Tripel (Centralia, WA) which I also had the same night.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed (Draft @ Alamo Draughthouse, West Oaks, Houston, TX):

Pours a pale cloudy body, with some foamy head, dIminishing. Has a belgiany sweet aroma, flowery. Smells good. Light taste, flowery, belgiany. Clean aftertaste. Warming up...a lot of spices. Tasty. Very good.

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Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.31/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Hazy and golden with a tight-bubbled, off-white head. Lacing is speckled on my tulip glass

S- A funk cloud from the yeast is spiced with gentle, floral hops

T- A light flavor dominated by the yeast byproducts that remind me of sour cream or the torula yeast commonly found on potato chips

M- Creamy and silky with perfect carbonation that bubbles just right

D- The alcohol is hard to find- the perfect body and funky yeast covers it all up.

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Photo of jmbranum
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bought at Central Market in Fort Worth, Texas but enjoyed back home in Oklahoma.

I have long loved beers from Real Ale Brewing Co. so I was excited to try this one.

Pours an attractive clear gold with a one inch white head.

Aroma is very alcoholic. I can smell a bit of malt, some hops and then some interesting gasoline-like notes.

Complex flavor. Lots of hops to balance the sweet maltyness. Not crisp and dry as some of the style, but also some interesting hefeweizen-ish clove and bananas. Maybe a bit of pineapples.

Rich and full mouthfeel.

Overall, this beer is interesting. Maybe a little bit too interesting. It is very balanced but also has lots of domineering notes... the hops, the sweet malt, the herbs and definitely the alcohol. Unlike many tripels this beer doesn't hide those notes at all.

That said, what I like about this beer is the price. High ABV for the same price as the other offerings of Real Ale. It definitely is a good nightcap kind of beer.

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Photo of champ103
4.26/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a beautiful hazy golden/honey color. A dense two finger white head forms with excellent retention. Lots of sticky and spiderweb looking lace is left behind. Looks awesome in my Real Ale tulip.
S: Yeast and fruity esters like a good Triple should have. Though an off putting mineral aroma is present.
T: There it is. Lots of peppery, spicy, phenolic flavors. Yeast with fruity esters of bananas. Some pear as well. Some sweet candied sugar and a light lingering bitterness. Very nice.
M/D: A medium body with the perfect amount of carbonation. Very crisp and dry. Devilishly easy to drink. I have to remind myself this is over 8%.

An excellent Triple. I have always enjoyed this on tap when the season came. I am so happy this is now bottled. I think it is even better out of the bottle (which is the only reason I am doing a second review). Probably the best American version I have had of the style. Again, well done Real Ale.

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Photo of dnarx
4.26/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a nice deep yellow with a two finger head that left beautiful lacing down the side as it subsided.

S: mmmm...belgian yeast, esters, malt, and booze.

T: the yeast character was very apparent in the flavor of the beer, but this is too be expected. Also had a light pear, sweetness, and a bit of booze.

M: medium on body with a good carbonation

D: very drinkable despite a bit of booziness.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Treebs
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this as an extra in a trade, Thanks Brad! Man I've written that a lot in my reviews, stand up BA right there.

A: Pours a deep golden straw, very hazy, with a one finger fluffy white that subsides into nice white ring.

S: The funkiest of yeast is prominent in the bad boy. Slight fruity esters with a bubblegum back. Some orange spice and some apples with a slight banana.

T: Same funky yeast with a some actual spice in there, I like it. There is a fruity tartness that peaks its head through, and it slowly subsides into mild sweetness. The finish is a temperate bitterness which really brings it home.

M: Medium bodied with a mile carbonation. Slightly coating on the palate with a nice sugar sweetness.

O: I loved this beer. It was very balanced and there was just enough funk and tartness in the taste to keep my interested and coming back for more. I recommend.

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Photo of Jillwastaken
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The 2010 Backbone is great. The aroma is clean and fruity (pears, grapes, honey). It's a gorgeous translucent (almost opaque) amber in appearance, like clover honey. The head dissipates fairly quickly, with a bit of lace clinging to the glass and around the edges of the beer. It's very drinkable, even in a month or two when it's going to be warm here in Austin...dry, spicy, fruity finish. Yum, guys!

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Devil's Backbone from Real Ale Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 163 ratings.